Part 61: Kid - Second Day - Part 2TrackGedaechtnisschwund
"Okay. In that case, Sara and I will hold down the fort here."
"You can't complain about that, right?"
"Geez. Damned if I do, damned if I don't."
It seemed that Takeshi was oblivious to his disturbing dream the night before.
"I figure that You is concerned about you in her own way. Like when she had you carry the heavy toolbox...maybe it was her way of saying 'rest a bit' or 'take it easy.'"
"You think so? That's a pretty generous interpretation, I'd say."
"Oh well. In that case, I guess Sara and I will just have sit back and relax - together."
Takeshi tried to pat Sara on the shoulder...but she dodged the advance.
"Oh! You probably don't want to do that."
"I'm a licensed Iga Ninja!"
You go, girl.
"Kid, should we get going?"
You and I left the increasingly tense atmosphere behind.
The pipes continued into the adjacent Generator Room. It seemed that by opening and closing the valves, the water and oil pressure could be adjusted.
'Anyhow, this is all because the power supply is down. This room is designed so that maintenance can be performed manually at times like this, or during blackouts.'
You selected one pipe from the countless rows of them and instructed me to close its valve. As ordered, I turned the valve around and around.
I said this as I was closing the valve.
"It's about the girl from yesterday."
"Yesterday? You mean the seventh survivor you said you saw?"
"You're sure your eyes weren't playing tricks on you?"
"I'm positive. These eyes saw her."
"Maybe you've got some kind of eye disease."
"I'm kidding...it's a joke. Why do you always take everything seriously?"
"Alright, alright.... I'll listen to your stories of unidentified survivors later. Right now we have to work."
"You, can we talk now...?"
"Let's get back to Takeshi and Sara."
You took off from the room as if she were a fugitive on the run. I was left in the room alone... I felt an unclear mess of feelings stewing inside my mind.
Even so, on the other side of the door, it was still hot enough to scald. The four of us waited outside the Generator Room until we could be sure that the temperature inside had cooled enough.
It was like opening the door to a steam bath - a cloud of steam hissed out of the door.
The air in the steam-filled room was heavy and stuck to the skin. Inhaling felt like swallowing globs of sticky hot steam. Takeshi was opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water.
"Isn't it hard to breathe?"
"Stop pointing out the obvious! Talking about it just makes it worse!"
"Nakkyu...let's just do what we have to do and get out of here."
"Alright. Let's divide up what we have to do and be efficient about this. I'll be here. Takeshi, can I get you to go over there? Kid, I want you to..."
And so we got to work fixing the generator.
There wasn't much for Sara or me to do, because we were helpless when it came to machines. Takeshi and Sara were working on the other side of the generator. You was doing battle with the machine and depending on my flashlight wielding skills. With nothing much to do, my mind started wandering. And of course they led right to the girl that had disappeared. I just couldn't believe that I had imagined the whole thing.
"About the girl."
"What? You still stuck on that?"
"Just listen. Maybe that girl... Maybe she is a ghost."
"That's gotta be it! That would explain why the numbers change so irregularly and why she vanished all of the sudden."
"Listen! I'm serious."
"No. If you were talking about something serious, I would take you serious. But I'm not listening seriously to something like this. Stupidity is contagious."
"It's like multiplication of plusses and minuses... A plus times a plus is a plus. But a minus times a plus is a minus..."
"So, pass me that minus-like screwdriver, would you?"
I suppressed my anger and put the flat-head screwdriver in You's hand.
"Okay then, you don't have to listen seriously. Just listen to me stupidly."
"It's multiplication, right? A minus times a minus is a plus, right?"
"So? What is it you're dying to say?"
"It's about the girl that disappeared. If she were a ghost..."
"Hold on. Now, do you really believe in ghosts?"
"I wouldn't say believe. But believe in the possibility..."
"Zero. That is what possibility there is. 0.00000000000000001 percent, maybe."
"How do you know?"
"Listen. Ghost stories now and forever are almost all made up. They are just fiction with the goal of entertaining people."
"But haven't you ever felt somebody's eyes on you when you were in a room all alone?"
"Yeah. Like someone was watching you from behind..."
"You mean your mom?"
"I'm being serious...oh, never mind."
"Things like that are just your imagination."
"A product of an overzealous mind. An illusion spawned by the mental state of the person."
"You mean, my mind is playing tricks on me?"
"To be perfectly blunt - yes. UFOs and goblins are the same thing. People like to imagine stuff. Thanks to the power of imagination, people have been able to evolve to where we are, but it's kind of a curse, too. Taken to extremes, there is no distinguishing between reality and illusions."
"When you turn on the lights, the ghost is only a shirt on a chair. People who want to be scared see what they want."
"If you really want to believe that something exists, even if it doesn't, then you still feel that it does. If you are scared of something, you'll scare yourself even if there is nothing there."
Theres a choice here between arguing and keeping silent. Well keep the argument going.
"What about kanashibari? How do you explain that?"
"When you wake up and you can't move. Is that just a person's mind, too?"
"They probably can't move because somebody tied them up when they were asleep."
"Some S&M freak."
"As if that could happen!"
"You're talking about when your body is still asleep, but your mind is awake. So that even though you're conscious, your body won't move."
"What about the people that say they wake up and saw a ghost on top of them?"
"They think their eyes are open, but it's really just a dream. Because the brain is fully awake and the body won't do what it's told, a person feels fear. These two things happen at the same time... So even the most incredible dream seems like reality."
"I just told you, right? If you really, really believe something then even reality seems like an illusion."
"You can't convince me. I know...I saw her. At least I saw something."
"Don't go telling me you have special powers to see spirits or anything either."
"But no spinning your head around 360 degrees or spewing out ectoplasmic goo. Alright? And no supernatural tricks or channeling spirits either. Because if a poltergeist gets loose around here, the screws I just put in could fall out."
"For not believing this stuff, you sure know a lot about it."
"It's because I don't believe in it, that I know a lot. My knowledge is not for defensive purposes. It's for offensive ones."
"I mean, there are those people that swear by ghosts, the supernatural, UFOs and that occult stuff. They're completely loony. My knowledge is so I can take them down, when I meet them. I've stocked up on enemy information for my verbal assaults. That's the reason I majored in archaeology."
"Archaeology? Archaeology...I thought that was about digging, looking for artifacts, ruins and deciphering ancient letters. That kind of stuff, right?"
You studying archaeology...it just didn't click.
"So what are you studying?"
"I'm not doing anything that big. I'm still a freshmen so I'm only taking basic stuff. I just listen to professors lecture and go on excavation surveys. I'm still getting the fundamentals of 'What is archaeology?' pounded into my head."
"Hmmm. Oh, that reminds me. Speaking of archaeology...You, have you ever heard of the continent Lemuria? It seems like it is the origin of LeMU's name."
"Have I heard of it?.... I know so much about it that it makes me nuts."
"Lemuria is the phantom continent that is said to have existed from 200 million to 50 million years B.C. On it thrived an advanced civilization that was more advanced than what we have today. But overnight it just slipped down to the bottom of the ocean."
You recited it off so fluently that it sounded like she was reading from a textbook.
(Advanced civilization...overnight...huh? That sounds just like...)
"There are some scholars that contend that this continent was the origin of mankind. But what could they be talking about? That could never happen."
"You don't believe it?"
"The more real research is conducted, the more the theory is shot full of holes...it's no longer a legitimate field of study."
"Is that right...?"
"Religion is like that, too. Any and all those mysterious things that people get all worked up about. They're mostly all make believe. 'They're all impossible to prove, so who cares what they say?' - that's the philosophy behind it."
I thought that maybe precisely because there was no evidence for or against that what people said was actually packed with meaning. I felt like that because those words were the only foothold, the only way to really nail down reality. I absently thought about this for a minute.
"Hmmmmgggr...this screw is really tight."
"Let me try."
"Ohhhh. I'm beat...my shoulders are stiff and everything."
You twisted and stretched. Her back popped loudly.
"Hey. You know what we were just talking about..."
"What was that? Oh, Lemuria?"
"Kid...you're not one of those people that get all into these stories, are you?"
"I...I don't know about that. But since we've got time to kill, just humor me."
"Alright, alright. What is it?"
"Okay. I wonder if Lemuria angered God and he sent it to the bottom of the ocean?"
"I mean, if the people of Lemuria had such an advanced civilization, maybe God struck them down for their pride or something... Huh? You?"
"This is bad. DANGER, DANGER! I'm putting myself in danger of being dragged into lunacy with you."
"Alright. I should be fine now."
"Okay, okay. I see what you're saying. You are saying that it was like the Tower of Babel, right?"
"Tower of Babel?"
"In the old testament, in Genesis there is this story about this tower. In it, people are so proud of their achievements that they build this super high tower...this massive structure that almost reached to heaven. But God was angered by their behavior. God said, 'I will bring down their pride together with the trickery of their hands. They are impudent.' So God took it upon himself to destroy the tower and the building stopped, and people spread to all corners of the earth. That's the story of the Tower of Babel."
"Yeah. That's what I'm talking about."
I nodded without stopping my work.
"That would have to be the work of a God like Shiva."
"The God of destruction and creation. One of the main three Hindu gods. He has more than a thousand names, four arms, four faces and three eyes. He destroys the world for purposes of creation... The destruction is so thorough that in it is contained the seeds or possibility of the next generation."
"Kind of like starting from square one is better than fixing something halfway?"
"Probably something like that."
"So if Lemuria had pissed off a god enough to sink it into the ocean, then that god would probably have demolished it."
"Oh, I see..."
(A god that would purge the world of filth by destroying it... A god that damned people drunk with pride, and forced rebirth...)
"Look! You're slowing down. Hurry up and finish up."
"I'm already done."
I had finished putting in all of the screws.
"Next tighten these bolts."
I handed the screwdriver to her and took the wrench. Somewhere along the line, I had been put in charge of the work. When You pointed the flashlight near me, I saw three bolts in the shape of a triangle.
"Did you say that Shiva has three eyes?"
I put the wrench between my eyebrows.
"He'd have another eye right here then?"
"That's right. The light from that third eye burns all in the world, purifying it."
"Wow.... That sounds pretty cool."
I said that as I tightened the top bolt.
"But, I bet a visit to the optometrist would be a pain."
"You'd have to buy another lens so the optometrist would love it."
I thought to myself that making the custom frame is what would cost a fortune. But I didn't dare say it.
"That is enough of that..."
"Clairvoyance, telescopic vision, ghost sense, the gift of the prophet, the power of seeing the past or future... There are a lot of explanations behind it. Some say it is a gift from the gods, others that you can acquire it from intensive training. But what they all have in common is.. When the third eye opens, true wisdom is apparent and all becomes visible.
"They all have something to do with transcending the realm of the human...becoming superhuman somehow."
Muttering that I turned to face the bolt again.
(If I had that, I'd be able to get back my memory...yeah right...)
"If there really is such a thing, I want one."
"You want what? .... A third eye?"
"Yeah. If I had one, maybe I could see my past. And maybe I'd know who that girl is."
"Anyway, I'd like to see what it is like."
"You want to see?"
"Yeah. Maybe I could see something."
"Shall I give you a look then?"
I looked up.
And there... Was You's face.
(Wh-when did she get so close?)
We were at a distance where could just about feel each other's breath. The tips of our noses just about touched - that's how close her face was.
"You want to see, right?"
You stared me in the eye as she said this.
I couldn't speak. My legs shook. My heart was beating as fast as it would go. It felt like it would jump right out of my chest.
"Now take a good look."
You lifted up her bangs and placed her finger on her forehead.
"Right here, isn't it? The third eye..."
On You's face... There was nothing. All I could think about was her nice skin and sweet smell.
"Ah! Ha, ha, ha, ha!"
You grabbed her stomach, laughing.
"It's a JOKE! A JOKE!"
"Ha, ha, ha! That was too funny. Who else would take that completely seriously...you're the best."
"You're...you're so mean...You. You tease me even though you know how serious I am."
"Sorry! Oh, I'm sorry! But you keep saying one bizarre thing after another, so I just couldn't help playing a joke on you."
"Besides...what I said wasn't really a lie anyway."
Saying that, You pointed to her forehead again.
"What do you mean?"
Actually... The animal ancestors of vertebrates had three eyes. Early species of primitive reptiles... Like the tuatara lizard that still has a third eye on the top of its head.
The third eye...
The organ has a similar function to the eyeball and lies on the top of the head. This organ would be sensitive to the light of the outside world and control internal hormone secretion and balance based on light. An eye on the crest of one's head would stare straight up. It seemed safe to say that it would sense the difference in light between day and night.
A right eye, a left eye and one above... An eye on the top of the head to stare at the sky. Only we people and higher vertebrates had lost the third eye over a long process of evolution. It had been covered over by the cerebrum and we lost our ability to sense light directly. Therefore we had two light sensitive eyeballs, one on each side, instead. This lost third eye was called a 'pineal body.'
This had functioned in the brain for eons and was responsible for secreting hormones that helped carve out our 24-hour rhythm. What we called our internal clocks existed because of this pineal body.
"So the third eye in terms of human anatomical science is really no big deal. It's just an organ we lost through evolution..."
"You mean like an appendix or the webbing between fingers?"
"That's exactly what I mean."
"I finished with the bolt."
"Okay. Well then our work here is done."
You stretched as she said this. I put both hands on my waist and stretched. We were both drenched in sweat.
"Hey, I was wondering..."
"So that occult stuff that you were just telling me about is for offensive purposes, too?"
"Well...it's not really for offensive or defensive use."
"It's just a load of useless knowledge."
"Still, I can't very well just throw it away. Maybe it has completely rooted itself into my brain."
"But you planted it there yourself, right?"
"My mom's the guilty one."
"Yes. My mom's an archaeology researcher. Apparently she's an expert in the ancient concept of the third eye... Anyway, when I was little, instead of lullabies she told me all these third eye stories."
(Hmmm? The third eye?)
How about that? I wondered if the third eye could be related to something. I thought I would ask about possible connections, but my mind and body were completely drained.
(Oh well...I'll save it for next time.)
"I used to hate archaeology..."
You sighed as she said this.
"But one day I just woke up and found myself in the archaeology department."
"Like mother, like daughter?"
"It's not that simple."
You's shoulders slumped and she let go a deep sigh again.
"It's like some kind of curse."
Well, it had turned into an adventure, but at least we had finished the repairs. It was just like Sara had said. The cause of the blackout was the opening of the safety valve due to the drop in air pressure.
'When pressure from the steam becomes excessive, the valve automatically opens to release the gas and prevent damage. Normally after a release of surplus gas, the valve is designed to shut naturally...but we're only at 1 atmosphere. Because the safety valve never closed, the steam continued leaking.'
...Anyway, that was the gist of the explanation.
There we opened the valve we had closed before the repairs...
Video: Prince The Return
"So should we try to fire it up?"
Takeshi whispered the question as we stood in front of the generator switch.
"I'm turning it on."
Sara, You and I nodded silently.
"Just do it."
"Pipe down, Kid."
"How about a countdown... 50 seconds to..."
"Huh? From 50?"
"45 seconds to..."
Takeshi continued, ignoring her.
"Takeshi, that's too long..."
It was irritating.
All three of us - except Takeshi - pushed the button.
"Hey! What're you doing? We still have 34 seconds to go!"
"Nobody wants to wait 34 seconds. Somebody had to push it!"
"You guys can't even wait a little more than a simple 30 seconds?"
"This...this is kind of like, a ritual...anyway, it's very important..."
The light poured down, illuminating even the corners of the room. It was like our field of vision had expanded in an instant.
"The lights came on with 17 seconds left in the countdown."
"What are you talking about?"
"You don't understand? The power came back on with 17 seconds left to count."
"Oh, I see..."
I understood what she was saying.
"You mean if we would have pushed it at 17 seconds, it would have been just right?"
"Ah, ha, ha! That would have been something."
I wasn't sure if Takeshi was over his anger, but he shouldered the heavy toolbox and left the room.
The frozen tuna's empty eyes were waiting for us. The elevator we had used coming down had already floated up to Zweite stock. But to the left...the floor display was lit up with a number three.
Takeshi groaned as he put the toolbox on the floor of the elevator.
"You sound like an old man..."
"Shut up. I AM an old man compared to you."
While they needled each other I pushed the up button next to the door. The internal and external watertight doors had already sealed automatically. We could hear air being sent into the ballast tank under the floor. Finally, the egg-shaped elevator...didn't start to float up.
"Huh? Are you serious?"
The sound beneath the floor had stopped and silence had returned.
"Why do we keep running into problem after problem..."
Knowing it was useless, I pushed the up button repeatedly. Of course, EI didn't move an inch.
"Alright, so what do we do...?"
Just as I said that... A monitor just to the right of the round window flickered to life.
"Takeshi, You, Sara, Kid."
"Sora! Where have you been? We looked everywhere for you!"
"I'm terribly sorry. Please accept my apologies."
The image of Sora in the monitor bowed deeply.
"That's not important right now. Sora? So we fixed the generator?"
"It would appear so. Thank you so much. Thank you..."
"I think you know this, but we are in this egg...uh, this EI..."
"Yes, I know. The EI is not moving, correct?"
"What should we do?"
"First, in regard to the cause... It is likely the result of a decrease in internal air pressure that has made the device incapable of sufficiently expelling the seawater in the ballast tank. In other words..."
"You mean it isn't buoyant enough?"
"Correct. There are a number of feasible methods for making it rise, but..."
In line with the principle of Archimedes...if the buoyancy was insufficient, we had to lighten the load. First, Sara and I got in EI.
"Good work you two."
Sora beamed a welcoming smile at us. Tsugumi just stood there staring at Sara and me. Next came You... And then the Tuna took the elevator to return to our floor.
I noticed that when Tsugumi saw You cradling the frozen fish, she grinned for the first time. Sora on the other hand...
"Takeshi! Are you alright?"
...Sora ran up next to the fish in a panic.
"Uh, Nakkyu...you brought along the fish?"
"Of course. It's food after all. Waste not, want not, right?"
"Forget that for now...more importantly...Takeshi..."
Sora was still flustered and babbling next to the fish. I wondered if she really thought that Takeshi had turned into a tuna.
"This is all my fault.... Oh my gosh! What can I do?"
"Uh...I know you are occupied, but..."
"I think the question is more what should I do."
We gathered in the third floor Conference Room. Takeshi, Tsugumi, Sora, You, Sara and I - all six of us were sitting in chairs just letting time pass. The rescue team still hadn't come. Our situation didn't show any sign of changing.
[Everybody in succession]
Takeshi's yawn spread from person to person. I desperately tried to keep from yawning. Only Sora had her head down and looked as if she were thinking about something.... We were bored silly. I hadn't realized that doing nothing could be so hard.
(Well, I might as well get some exercise.)
Thinking that I stood from the chair.
Sara shot me the question slumped in the chair next to mine.
"We've got all this time so I thought I'd go for a little walk."
"Oh. In that case, can you bring me back something to drink?"
Why was this an 'in that case' thing?
"I'm thirsty...I think there was juice in the kiosk, right?"
"I think so."